White Bear Maple Products and Gifts grand opening

The grand opening begins with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9:30 this morning, the store officially opens at 10:00 a.m., and the first twenty-five customers in the store will receive a free gift basket.
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 10:10 AM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - There’s a new business on the block in Ishpeming — White Bear Maple Products and Gifts, a gift shop offering up a number of handmade crafts, apparel, foodstuffs, art, and more from all across the U.P..

White Bear is a labor of love between Bob Bess and Debby Elliott, both of whom work full time jobs while also running the store. The business initially started out several years ago when Elliott and Bess began selling maple syrup, which Bess makes himself in North Ishpeming. The venture began to snowball, and Elliott started to add her own crafts, as well as selections from local artists, to the online store they had set up.

Now, only a few years later, the two are having their grand opening at their very own brick-and-mortar this morning in Ishpeming, and couldn’t be more excited.

“There’s been a lot of laughter, and some tears,” Elliott—who works a full-time job in sales on top of co-running White Bear—said with a laugh. “But we’re happy to finally have the place.”

The store isn’t just competing with local businesses now — it’s also competing with COVID-19. As precautionary measures, social distancing will be enforced, masks will be required in the store, and no more than ten people will be allowed in at one time.

“It’s been crazy,” Bess said—who works at the Empire Mine on top of co-running White Bear—when asked about opening the shop during the pandemic. “A lot of sleepless nights, lots of coffee.... We spent two weeks getting the store to the point that it’s at right now, which we’re quite happy with.”

White Bear Maple Products and Gifts is located just off US-41 in Ishpeming, right next to Huron Bakery’s Ishpeming branch.

You can find a link to White Bear Maple Products and Gifts' Facebook Page here.

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